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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2005 Sep;31(9):1203-16.

The nonconscious influence of religious symbols in motivated performance situations.

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Department of Psychology, Mercer University, Macon, GA 31207, USA.


Anthropological, sociological, and psychological theories suggest that religious symbols should influence motivational processes during performance of goal-relevant tasks. In two experiments, positive and negative religious (Christian) symbols were presented outside of participants' conscious awareness. These symbols influenced cardiovascular responses consistent with challenge and threat states during a subsequent speech task, particularly when the speech topic concerned participants' mortality, and only for Christian participants; similar images lacking Christian meaning were not influential. Results suggested that these effects were due to the learned meaning of the symbols and point to the importance of religion as a coping resource.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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